S.5696 (Metzger) / A. 6679 (Ryan)

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Director, Government Affairs
518.694.4463

BILL

S.5696 (Metzger) / A. 6679 (Ryan)

SUBJECT

Public Service Commission Reviews of Broadband and Fiber Optic Services Within the State

DATE

Oppose

The Business Council of New York State, the state’s leading statewide business and industry association, opposes this legislation that would amend the public service law to require the Public Service Commission to review broadband and fiber optic services within the state and then in turn require the expansion of broadband and fiber optic services. 

The bill would require the commission to undertake a study of broadband and fiber optic services in New York State within six months of the enactment of this bill. This study will then be the basis to “require and set completion dates for the construction or installation of broadband and fiber optic services by an internet service provider in communities in which broad band and fiber optic services are determined to be absent, insufficient, or inadequate, so as to ensure the availability of broadband and fiber optic services to the greatest number of New York state residents possible.”

There are numerous problems with both this bill and the approach it takes. This is especially relevant in regards to the competitive marketplace under which various companies and numerous systems compete with each other to insure customer satisfaction and choice. While telecommunications and cable providers strive to increase service throughout New York State, particularly under the Administration’s “Broadband for All” program, this bill merely offers an ill-contrived imposition on the markets. If enacted, this bill would force companies to comply with a study without any regard to which companies would perform the work, how the projects are to be paid for, and where these projects fit into the larger scope of current build-outs.

This bill takes an approach that strikes at the very heart of the free market approach under which customer demand drives competition, innovation, and advancements. Rather, this bill requires a state agency to undertake a quick study and then, in turn, demand that a product be installed to serve customers without any thought-out planning and recourse to the actual entities that must build an entirely new system. Companies will be forced to spend billions of dollars hastily without recourse to the usually internal plans to recoup a return on investment, make responsible company planning decisions, and integrate this massive external state study into existing multi-year long range expansion plans. These policies drive business out of New York State. 

New York State should be reducing impediments to market growth and breaking down the numerous barriers to encourage market expansion. Instead, it is focusing on legislation like this that perverts the recognized free-market/consumer system by attempting to redesign economies through State legislation based not on fact, but on arbitrary fiats. 

For the above reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation.